In 1969, with the acquisition of McDonnell Douglas DC-9 aircraft, Inex Adria Airways began offering a charter cargo service alongside its passenger services. Two "quick change" variants of the DC-9 with side cargo doors were purchased to facilitate the loading and unloading of air cargo pallets or containers.
After the introduction of a scheduled London service (in 1987), Adria Airways formed its Cargo Department. To begin with the department had three staff. With the addition of new flights and the taking over of operations work, the staff grew to its present number of fifteen. Adria had soon taken over the lion's share of cargo transport at Ljubljana Airport. With the growth in the number of freight forwarding companies, it became necessary to organise specialised courses for external users of Adria's services (IATA basic cargo course, handling of dangerous goods, etc.). The organisation and running of the courses takes place under the aegis of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
During the period of Slovenia's move to independence, when there was a ban on flying in Yugoslav airspace (1991), Adria's planes flew from Klagenfurt Airport and cargo was transferred to and from Brnik by trucks, with a great deal of help from the Slovenian and Austrian customs authorities. At the time of the break-up of the remainder of Yugoslavia, we organised an airlift using an An-26 transport aircraft, which flew daily between Ljubljana and Skopje for two years. We also introduced regular truck transport to Sarajevo when the airport was unusable as a result of damage sustained during the war. Following the opening of the airport in Priština, Adria Airways was the first airline to organise cargo transport to the Kosovo region.
With the replacement of the DC-9s with CRJ aircraft, cargo transport on scheduled flights began to decrease, owing to the reduced capacities of aircraft of this type. Another significant influence on the decline in cargo transport was Slovenia's entry to the EU, since open borders have increased the quantity of road and rail transport.
Owing to the lack of capacity, we have begun using additional road feeder services, in particular for shipments of larger dimensions, and we have also begun orienting ourselves towards the express courier business, especially in the Balkans, our main marketplace.